Does anyone have them anymore?
My most recent run-in with those who would have me abandon mine happened today. Another client. He wanted something on his resume that was not accurate. It was only partially correct, but he wanted it written so that it would give the appearance and assumption of correctness and completeness.
No surprise that I declined, but I did tell him that whatever he did with his resume and its contents was his choice and responsibility once he was out of here and on his own. Unfortunately, that was not to his liking and even after I explained again how important it was to have everything on his resume be scrupulously honest, he insisted that I put the erroneous information on there.
When I again tried to explain that he could do that sort of thing but that I could not, that what I typed had to be as close to accurate as possible, education, experience, work dates, companies, all of it, but he left, mumbling something about "...can't be bothered with this..."
So, he is gone and I suppose that I should be grateful, but I have to share that when he stomped out, my first instinct was to call after him or grab my cane and toddle after him, asking him to come back. Pleeeeeeease come back... And, it was only because I felt so terrible at having disappointed him. I mean, even I am surprised at how truly messed-up that is.
I checked with my boss, just to make sure that I had done the right thing and was properly and significantly supported. Still. I was reminded that I am helping to craft legal documents (something I also shared with my client) and that there is always a possibility that there could be personal and/or professional repercussions for me, and that it was imperative that I continue to take the kind of responsibility that I took today. Still.
My guess is that there would have been nothing that I could do to dissuade this person from having what he wanted, and that there would likely have been greater issues as we continued, but that does not stop me from feeling like a failure for not being able to turn this around in the few minutes that we worked together.
Still, still, still. How bad can things be when it seems that the average person has stopped struggling with doing the right things for the right reasons and has apparently joined those who believe that what you want takes precedence over what is right, true, honest.
Should I have just caved to do what he wanted because it was not a serious as the clients who wanted me to rephrase their illegal activities into what sounded like legitimate work?
Or the client that wanted to state that he was an independent contractor in order to cover-up the periods when he was incarcerated?
Is there some kind of continuum that allows a person to enter the realm of unethical, and often illegal, behavior without incurring consequences?
Why is it fine to cheat on your taxes instead of working to change the particulars of the tax system that you do not like?
Where did the notion come from that violating copyright and intellectual property rights is fine as long as no one knows about it and besides everyone does it so what it the big freaking deal? Seriously, none of these people would walk into a retail store and steal CDs or DVDs or books or magazines, but they are perfectly willing to copy and use whatever they like. Totally freaks me out.
As far as I know, no one in my acquaintance is in outright violation of any laws. But, were general betting allowed where I live, I might bet you a nickle that many of them are doing things and participating in activities that are nibbling away at what they believe their ethics to be. And, were betting allowed where I live, well, damn, I would win that nickle.
All we have is our word. If we work hard and have a modicum of luck, we can accumulate all kinds of wonderful things, do fabulous work and make our little part of the world a better place, but strip it all away and all we have is our word.
If our word is not worth the consonants and syllables we speak, if our actions do not illustrate our ideals, our highest selves, then we have nothing.
This comes at an interesting time, not having had a client like this for nearly a year, because the betrayal of several weeks ago was precipitated by my refusal to do something unethical for the person who retaliated against me with lies that could have injured my public reputation. I was not asked to break the law, but the request was to manipulate another person into doing something. In relationships, where trust and integrity, not to mention love, concern and respect, are concerned, that is a huge offense.
It did not happen, the whole public spectacle thing, but it shook me to my core. Smarter and braver souls triumphed, and even though I was not one of the smarter and braver, I am still grateful that nothing more horrible than the betrayal thing happened. It was something that I have never before experienced as an adult.
I have no desire to be saintly or be some moral-high-ground proponent, bossy rules-bitch, or the morality/ethics police, hell, I do not even want to be right all the freaking time, but it feels, just once in a while, like I am totally out of step with aspects of my life, my family and friends and even, now, my community. For today, at least just for today, I kind of give up.